Scotland’s first national Internet Exchange is galvanising businesses, encouraging growth from the recession and keeping money in the country, according to one of the key people behind its launch.
Charlie Boisseau, Head of Network Operations at Commsworld, has compared the potential impact the Exchange could have as being like a virtual version of when the Union and Clyde canal system was built in the 1800s – helping to attract more trade into the country.
The IX Scotland exchange is currently only available through one datacentre in Edinburgh, but providers such as Commsworld can link businesses to this from various ‘points of presence’ (PoPs) throughout the country.
Charlie said: “Before exchanges existed in any significant capacity the entire UK Internet industry was piling cash into the coffers of large American and international telcos, because the only way to get a good connection to the Internet was to buy a big pipe to the US.
“These days that business (and traffic) largely stays within the UK, but until IX Scotland, this pipe was mainly running to London or Manchester.
“The first year has been a technical success in terms of having very few performance issues and we can see the benefits we believed it would bring are still realistic. What the exchange needs now for users to realise those benefits, is more organisations joining it.”
Launching the campaign in March 2013, Ben Hedges, LINX’s head of business development, said: “There is immediate enhancement in speed which can be up to five times faster. It would end the phenomenon of ‘tromboning’, when data sent between two points in Scotland has to go down to London and back again.
Charlie continued: “People have been building communities around major infrastructure since civilisation began. In fact, Scotland’s biggest economic growth came about after the Union and Clyde canals were built in the 1800s. More than 90% of Scottish population and business during the 1900s were in the cities, towns and villages surrounding the canals.
“Internet exchanges have the same net effect, the general population will surround major infrastructure, building communities, businesses and the economy around it.
“What this does is build a local networking community, which in turn helps businesses to thrive rather than to source those services from further afield, therefore the more businesses that join IX Scotland, the better for our economy as a whole.
“We’re definitely seeing early signs that this is the case, which is hugely encouraging for the economy.”